Last Chance For Mario

Mario BalotelliMario Balotelli is on his “last chance” after joining Liverpool for £16m, says Reds manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 24-year-old Italy striker watched Liverpool’s 3-1 loss at former club Manchester City on Monday after moving from AC Milan on a three-year deal.

Balotelli courted controversy at City but while Rodgers admits the signing is a “calculated risk” he says he can curb his “flaws”.

“We can improve him as a player and help him mature,” he said.

“He’s a very bright boy. He was very clever. He understood where he’s at, at this stage of his career, and he knows himself that this is probably his last chance.

“Time will tell. Of course it is a risk. I am not going to say it wasn’t but he knows he needs to fit into our culture.

“There are no big egos or ‘Big-time Charlies’ in our squad. We have got to the Champions League because we are a team.

Liverpool, who finished second in the Premier League in 2013-14, two points behind champions Manchester City, sold 31-goal top scorer Luis Suarez for a reported £75m to Barcelona in the summer.

Balotelli, a scorer against England in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, had a controversial two-and-a-half-year spell at Etihad Stadium before joining AC Milan for £19m in January 2013.

During his time in England he helped City win their first Premier League title in 44 years and scored 30 goals in 80 games in all competitions.

However, he was also sent off four times and was pictured having a training-ground argument with then manager Roberto Mancini just before his transfer to Italy.

Rodgers admitted he had not consulted the temperamental star’s former managers, saying: “I didn’t because if I’d spoken to too many people you would have got all sorts of stories about him.

“I know what we are getting. It is a calculated risk, but I have been very encouraged by the man himself. He knows his flaws and faults and he’s looking for someone to help him and there is no better club than Liverpool.

“There is excitement with him coming in. As a coach I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“He has that self belief and football arrogance on the field. Luis Suarez has gone, he was a wonderful talent but now we have to look to the future and hopefully Mario can contribute to what we are doing.”-BBC

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